Coding

What Donald Trump is Tweeting (Analyzing Tweets with NLTK and Pandas)

How does @realDonaldTrump (Donald J. Trump) tweet? Before the President-elect became the president-elect, I didn’t pay much attention to his tweets, but I did know that he seemed to have a unique style of writing them. To me, it felt like he tweeted like he spoke in public. But what was that tone or Trump brand?

From a quick glance of his account, the usage of exclamation points seemed prominent. I wondered if that was consistent, and I wondered what else I could find. So I ran an analysis Trump’s tweets as well as @HillaryClinton, @CNN and @FoxNews’ for some comparison.

My strategy for selecting the accounts:

  1. Find another individual user’s account with opposing views, but who had some similar goals over the last year + (to be come President of the United States)
  2. Compare the individual users’ accounts with “objective” news sources’ Twitter accounts. Since source objectivity is always a topic of hot debate (or a hot topic of debate), I took @CNN and @FoxNews.

The Method

  • Pull as many of Trump’s Tweets as I could via Twitter API. The best service to perform this operation is /user_timeline. You can only get the last 3,200 tweets from any particular user handle, which is unfortunate because plenty of accounts have authored far more than 3,200 tweets (e.g. Trump has written over 30,000 tweets).
  • Take the tweets and do some Natural Language Processing with Python’s NLTK.
    • Get the parts of speech tags for every word in every tweet
    • Do word frequency counts
    • Classify the sentiment of the tweets
  • Classify the reading level or difficulty of each word. Determine the reading level of the account. 
    • I didn’t implement this. I started, but then I got distracted.
  • Pull out an aggregate view of some other interesting tweet data, like #HASHTAG usage.
  • Compare data.

And Now, The Data

Punctuation! Punctuation! Punctuation! Trumpunctuation?

If you’ve seen Trump speak, you probably may have noticed his strong intonations and general emphatic demeanor. His tweets seem to capture this partially through punctuation alone. His words are sprinkled with the strongest punctuation mark in the English language, the exclamation mark.

“!” occurs 2336 times over 3200 Trump tweets. 

And “!” occurs at least once 1954 times over 3200 Trump tweets.

Which means that 61% of Trump’s tweets contain an exclamation mark (based on my 3200 tweet dataset). This seemed astonishingly high; when I first pulled this I thought my code was incorrect. So I opened my file of tweets and eyeballed it to confirm. I figured if 60+ % of tweets contained an exclamation mark, then it would be easy to confirm my sanity (or lack thereof) from the text file.

trump's usage of exclamation mark

Some of Trump’s Tweets

The highest frequency of “!” in a single tweet was five. And that occurred in the following tweet:

“#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!”
Which was Retweeted 27,158 times and Favorited 61,084 times. Created on August 20, 2016.

biggest_excla_tweet

Here’s the !!!! comparison among the entire group:

@realDonaldTrump Absolute Count (!) @HillaryClinton Absolute Count (!) @CNN Absolute Count (!) @FoxNews Absolute Count (!)
2336 171 43 134

Adjectives Are Very Great

Trump’s top twenty favorite adjectives are listed below, along with the top 20 adjectives from the comparison group. It’s not really a surprise that “great” was number one for Trump because, among other things, his campaign’s slogan was “Make America Great Again.” Notably, I removed stopwords and only grabbed lowercase words to help filter out some noise from the data. Relative frequency is the percentage relative to the other adjectives in the dataset.

trump_word abs_frequency rel_frequency
great 211 4.953052
bad 81 1.901408
many 81 1.901408
big 77 1.807512
last 66 1.549296
new 56 1.314554
good 50 1.173709
much 34 0.798122
amazing 32 0.751174
total 30 0.704225
wonderful 30 0.704225
nice 27 0.633803
massive 25 0.586854
first 25 0.586854
presidential 23 0.539906

 

Below is the list of top 20 adjectives from @realDonaldTrump, @HillaryClinton, @CNN, @FoxNews from their last 3200 tweets.

adj_comparison

 

General Sentiment of Tweets

To calculate the sentiment of the tweets, I used a function in the nltk library called demo_liu_hu_lexicon() which classifies each word of the sentence as Positive, Negative, or Neutral, and then does a basic count of each word-classification category. Whichever group has the highest count is how the text will get assigned. There are definitely better ways to do this. I considered an integration with IBM’s Watson, but time was doing its thing, being time, and being of the essence and such.

@realDonaldTrump @HillaryClinton @CNN @FoxNews
Positive 0.463750 0.468750 0.304688 0.235625
Neutral 0.285313 0.401875 0.425938 0.455937
Negative 0.250937 0.129375 0.269375 0.308437

Top Hashtags

This section contains a top 5 hashtag summary table for the entire analysis group, and also has the top 20 hashtags for each account listed afterward. You can infer what you will from this data.

I did find it interesting that the top-used hashtag by Trump was one of self-promotion, and Hillary Clinton used a lot of hashtags relating to the debates. Just looking at the hashtag data makes me think that Trump’s social media strategy was much stronger throughout the campaign.

In addition, all four Twitter accounts had at least one hashtag with “Trump” in it. From a marketing perspective, that’s good brand awareness.

Top 5 Hashtag Summaries

@realDonaldTrump Top 5 Hashtags @HillaryClinton Top 5 Hashtags @CNN Top 5 Hashtags @FoxNews Top 5 Hashtags
#Trump2016, #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, #MAGA, #AmericaFirst, #DrainTheSwamp #DebateNight, #DemsInPhilly, #VPDebate, #RNCinCLE, #debate #CNNHeroes, #CNNSOTU, #Aleppo, #CNNNYE, #JadonAndAnias #KellyFile, #Trump, #FoxNews2017, #Hannity, #Christmas

@realDonaldTrump Hashtags

abs_frequency hashtag rel_frequency_pct
238 Trump2016 15.130324
202 MakeAmericaGreatAgain 12.841704
111 MAGA 7.056580
79 AmericaFirst 5.022250
78 DrainTheSwamp 4.958678
57 ImWithYou 3.623649
57 BigLeagueTruth 3.623649
53 VoteTrump 3.369358
38 CrookedHillary 2.415766
36 Debate 2.288620
35 TrumpTrain 2.225048
34 TrumpPence16 2.161475
24 Debates2016 1.525747
22 ICYMI 1.398601
20 SuperTuesday 1.271456
18 VPDebate 1.144310
15 RNCinCLE 0.953592
14 Debates 0.890019
13 WIPrimary 0.826446
12 ThankYouTour2016 0.762873

Below are the top hashtags for the entire group.
all_hashtags

It’s also worth sharing how many total hashtags were used in the last 3200 tweets of each Twitter account in the dataset group:

@realDonaldTrump @HillaryClinton @CNN @FoxNews
total_hashtags_used 1573 482 143 810

 

Top Favorited Tweets

Top Favorited of @realDonaldTrump

text favorite_count created_at
Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before 639428 Wed Nov 09 11:36:58 +0000 2016
TODAY WE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! 577008 Tue Nov 08 11:43:14 +0000 2016
How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted? https://t.co/gECLNtQizQ 296236 Thu Jun 09 20:40:32 +0000 2016
The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania\’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary\’s emails. 248370 Wed Jul 20 15:36:06 +0000 2016
Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair! 234619 Fri Nov 11 02:19:44 +0000 2016
Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud! 224497 Fri Nov 11 11:14:20 +0000 2016
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! 216064 Tue Nov 29 11:55:13 +0000 2016
Fidel Castro is dead! 212487 Sat Nov 26 13:08:11 +0000 2016
This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win! 204239 Sat Nov 12 15:05:33 +0000 2016
A fantastic day in D.C. Met with President Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania liked Mrs. O a lot! 194927 Fri Nov 11 02:10:46 +0000 2016

 

Top Favorited of @HillaryClinton

text favorite_count created_at
“I never said that.” \u2014Donald Trump, who said that. #debatenight https://t.co/6T8qV2HCbL 160098 Tue Sep 27 01:19:47 +0000 2016
Where was this kind of comedy last night? https://t.co/71JhLG55G5 134956 Fri Oct 21 17:51:34 +0000 2016
“Trump just criticized me for preparing for this debate. You know what else I prepared for? Being president.” #DebateNight 112647 Tue Sep 27 02:01:59 +0000 2016
Women have the power to stop Trump.\\n\\nhttps://t.co/tTgeqy51PU\\nhttps://t.co/VH3woeAf9Q https://t.co/NjvbkPsjPR 111546 Fri Oct 07 23:54:35 +0000 2016
“Nobody respects women more than me.” \u2014Donald Trump earlier tonight\\n\\n”Such a nasty woman.” \u2014Donald Trump just now #DebateNight 108114 Thu Oct 20 02:36:56 +0000 2016
Don\’t stand still. Vote today: https://t.co/jfd3CXLD1s #ElectionDay #MannequinChallenge https://t.co/4KAv2zu0rd 95882 Tue Nov 08 11:47:18 +0000 2016
Happy birthday to this future president. https://t.co/JT3HiBjYdj 94281 Wed Oct 26 13:03:18 +0000 2016
RT if you\u2019re proud of Hillary tonight. #DebateNight #SheWon https://t.co/H7CJep7APX 93121 Thu Oct 20 02:37:43 +0000 2016
RT this if you\’re proud to be standing with Hillary tonight. #debatenight https://t.co/91tBmKxVMs 92721 Tue Sep 27 02:45:44 +0000 2016
This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president. https://t.co/RwhW7yeFI2 91471 Fri Oct 07 20:55:13 +0000 2016

 

Top Favorited of @CNN

text favorite_count created_at
At least 60 people have been hurt in an explosion at a fireworks market near Mexico City, local media report.\u2026 https://t.co/2UWK6ECpsf 22570 Tue Dec 20 22:49:24 +0000 2016
This little boy is the newest face of OshKosh B\’gosh\’s holiday ads after initially being turned down by a talent ag\u2026 https://t.co/bdc1Zig7lE 22506 Sat Dec 10 07:01:29 +0000 2016
“We\’ve been friends for a long time”: Kanye West and President-elect Trump appear together at Trump Tower\u2026 https://t.co/KIdFwkVTGr 19082 Tue Dec 13 14:59:55 +0000 2016
This little boy is the newest face of OshKosh B\’gosh\’s holiday ads after initially being turned down by a talent ag\u2026 https://t.co/8ppZdDs3Te 12099 Sat Dec 10 23:45:25 +0000 2016
Clinton jokes at Reid portrait unveiling: “After a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be\u2026 https://t.co/zpVwUAnjId 11868 Thu Dec 08 22:23:56 +0000 2016
BREAKING: President Obama vows retaliatory action against Russia for its meddling in the US presidential election\u2026 https://t.co/SJPGxWQB8d 9767 Fri Dec 16 01:36:31 +0000 2016
More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in US history https://t.co/6TBbQi3Nsn 9273 Wed Dec 21 23:28:00 +0000 2016
This little boy is the newest face of OshKosh B\’gosh\’s holiday ads after initially being turned down by a talent ag\u2026 https://t.co/LG0rdFFVkc 9117 Mon Dec 12 00:42:57 +0000 2016
Mariah Carey, Adele, Elton John and Lady Gaga bring the holiday spirit in special Christmas-themed \’Carpool Karaoke\u2026 https://t.co/8aQ5BDIbKt 7475 Mon Dec 19 05:30:24 +0000 2016
\’Dear world, why are you silent?\’: Desperate pleas from inside Aleppo https://t.co/1RvPlSDB7a https://t.co/XYwbJibFTD 7355 Wed Dec 14 19:00:04 +0000 2016

 

Top Favorited of @FoxNews

text favorite_count created_at
JUST IN: President-elect #Trump announces @Sprint will bring 5,000 jobs back to the U.S., and OneWeb will hire 3,00\u2026 https://t.co/CVWrTyuFNR 18974 Wed Dec 28 22:17:35 +0000 2016
.@JudgeJeanine: “Michelle, you may not realize it, but Americans rejected you and everything you stand for.”\u2026 https://t.co/tGrzIlZjxN 15054 Sun Dec 18 17:17:51 +0000 2016
#Breaking News: President-elect @realDonaldTrump has garnered the 270 #ElectoralCollege votes needed to become pres\u2026 https://t.co/5CDoiZCs4d 11164 Mon Dec 19 22:35:53 +0000 2016
Peters: “Without the least exaggeration, we can say that President Obama has been the worst foreign policy presiden\u2026 https://t.co/JbIGCpwKUk 10263 Sat Dec 31 03:32:46 +0000 2016
.@realDonaldTrump: “Michelle Obama said yesterday that there\’s no hope, but I assume she was talking about the past\u2026 https://t.co/V1BuKztapK 10021 Sat Dec 17 22:43:31 +0000 2016
.@realDonaldTrump: “We have to protect Israel. Israel, to me, is very, very important. We have to protect Israel.” https://t.co/R8CZWsGfvX 10021 Sun Jan 01 03:26:17 +0000 2017
Giuliani: \u201cThe U.S. Constitution doesn\u2019t give anyone in this world the right to come to the U.S. That\u2019s a privilege\u2026 https://t.co/TyKS7REAPR 8885 Wed Dec 21 03:41:24 +0000 2016
.@KatrinaPierson: This president is the divider-in-chief. His entire political career revolved around racism, sexis\u2026 https://t.co/vQP27Mxc1B 8700 Fri Dec 30 01:43:04 +0000 2016
.@GovMikeHuckabee: Can you name me one Muslim country that welcomes Christians to build & protect churches? No, you\u2026 https://t.co/baLyxGAkL6 8419 Thu Dec 29 01:39:42 +0000 2016
DJT: “I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered 1 of the greatest defeats in the history of po\u2026 https://t.co/2bBtHDwqu3 8175 Sun Dec 11 19:08:47 +0000 2016

About the Data

If you would like to access some of the code/data, it is publicly available on my GitHub repo. I’ve also included all four files that contain all of the tweets on which I ran the analysis in the data/ directory.

I had plans to include Date/Time data analysis in this post and many other things (if you’d like to see more data, let me know), but you have to stop somewhere great!!!!!! #MakeCodingProjectsSmallAgain

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Coding

How to Retrieve and Analyze Your iOS Messages with Python, Pandas and NLTK

I’m one of those people that keeps every text message I send or receive — I never delete them. Meet a girl at a bar, text her the next day and never hear back from her? I keep that. Weird wrong-number texts? I keep those too. Ex-girlfriend texts? Definitely keepers.

I had 65,378 messages on my phone at the time of writing this post.

I’m not a digital hoarder or anything, but I primarily do this because I like the idea of being able to search through the past. But, digital hoarder or not, collecting anything takes up some sort of space, and when I found that my text messages were taking up 4GBs of space on my phone, I decided it was time to back them up. It was at that point that I realized I could also probably analyze them.

As it turns out, you can do this, and I’ll tell you how. For this project, I used Python/Pandas/NLTK for the analysis and an iPython Notebook to render the datasets. I’ve also uploaded the code to GitHub, which you can view here.

An overview of the steps to make this happen:

  1. Sync/back up your iPhone because the messages need to be stored on your computer.
  2. Load the SQLite file and retrieve all messages
    • You can follow the directions for retrieving the right file here.
  3. Analyze those mensajes (I used Pandas)!!

Let’s get into some details.

You need to sync and back up your phone’s contents to your computer. There’s a great post on how to do this here. In case you want to skip that read, you’re ultimately getting a file with the text messages in it; copying it and moving it into your working directory.

You can find the file with this bash command:

$ find / -name 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28

Now, loading the SQLite file — you can actually see what’s in this file via the command line:

 $ sqlite3 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28 

Then you can check out the available tables:

sqlite> .tables
_SqliteDatabaseProperties chat_message_join
attachment handle
chat message
chat_handle_join message_attachment_join

From here, the main tables I found useful were “message” and “handle.” The former contains all of your text messages, and the latter contains all of the senders/recipients. I only wrote code around the messages table, primarily because I could never figure out how to make a join between message and handle, but that was probably something trivial that I overlooked. Please tell me how you did it, if you did!

Continuing on, the message table has lots of columns in it, and I chose to select from the following:

['guid', 'service', 'text', 'date', 'date_delivered', 
'handle_id', 'type', 'is_read','is_sent', 'is_delivered',
'item_type', 'group_title']

The key field is “text,” which is where the content of the message is stored, which includes emojis! (A cool thing is that your emojis will show up if you try to plot them in something like an iPython notebook. You could run an entire analysis on emoji usage…)

My analysis, however, ultimately breaks down into two pieces:

  1. Analyzing the content of the “text” field (excluding emojis).
  2. Analyzing the messages themselves (for example, total text messages, or, what I sent vs. what I received, for instance).

For #1, I wrote code that:

  • Classifies all words and assigns a part of speech to them, then check the counts of each part of speech.
    • You should get a table looking like this.

      You should get a table looking like this.

  • Counts the number of times each word appears in the dataset, and gives an overview of the dataset:
    • total_words_filtered
  • Excludes boring words, like prepositions, and words that are < 2 characters.
  • Classifies all words as is_bad=1 or 0. I did this by using a .txt file full of bad words, found here:
  • Plots usage of bad words
    • I’d love to show you my plot, but let’s just assume I never swear…

For #2, the code allows you to:

  • Plot the number of text messages received each day (check out the spike on your birthday or during holidays). You can see my data below has a huge gap (that’s when my phone was replaced and not backed up for many months. My timestamp conversions are also apparently incorrect, but I haven’t looked into it.
    • The timestamp conversion is off, so someone can fix that... we're not in 2016, yet... Are we??

      The timestamp conversion is off, so someone can fix that… we’re not in 2016, yet…Or am I??

  • Count the number of sent versus received messages.

Anyway, I hope you can get some use out of this, and instead of blabbing on about the code here, I’ll just let you read it and use it on your own. Please check out my git repo, and please reach out to me with questions, comments, etc.

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Coding, Hackathon, New York City

Coming Through In the Clutch at Sports Illustrated’s Hackathon

“Hackathons are, like, my new favorite thing,” said not a lot of people. But I’m saying it, because I like building proof of concepts in a short period of time.

Hackathons are great reminders that great things can be built in no time at all.

Earlier this month, I participated in Sports Illustrated’s first hackathon, and this is a brief recounting of that sugar-filled, sleep-deprived, product-building experience. (No sports were actually played, unfortunately.)

We showed up around 9:30 a.m. because we were told that more people RSVP’d than the event space could handle. When I arrived, there were already about 10 over-achievers who had gotten there before me. I wanted to say, “damn them,” but then I realized, we were all probably sewn from similar fabric — the kind that welcomes waiting in lines to do work on a Saturday morning for the prospect of a unknown prizes (prizes had not been announced yet).

Around 10 a.m., the event started and we were allowed into the space (Time Inc. Photo Studio), which had a nice view.

The proof is in the pudding.

The proof is in the poster pudding.

A good view for building things that matter.

A good view for building things.

I can't say I read those two issues.

I can’t say I read those two issues.

There was coffee, donuts, bananas and plenty of other snacks to get fired up. My teammate, Brett, and I picked out a table and got settled in. Within about 15 minutes, there were speakers giving presentations to the group of hackers. This was a bit odd, and unfortunately, fell on the note of contrived. But alas, no donut is free. And the final speaker, Alex Bresler, said something that inspired what we would actually be building.

“It’s really difficult to determine who is more clutch than someone else.”

When I heard this, I thought, “Why? We can do that. We’ll do that.” I messaged Brett (sitting next to me), and asked what the thought about building something that rates the “clutchness” of players in sports, and allows users to compare different players. He responded that he liked that idea.

Left: Brett paying attention to speakers. Right: Me not paying attention.

Left: Brett paying attention to the presentations. Right: Me not paying attention.

Shortly thereafter, the speech wrapped up, and one of the guys sitting at our table asked us what we were working on. I stated that we had an idea, but we weren’t totally sure. We asked him what he did, and he said he worked on “statistical modeling,” or something like that. I was skeptical, as I’m sure Brett was as well — I could see it on his face. I decided to give a little more info about what we were working on, and this statistician dude asked if he could join our team. I thought, “I don’t know anything about this guy, but, why the hell not. He could be great.” I said, “yeah sure, but let me ask Brett.” Brett was not yet convinced, but finally, he decided to say yes too. And so we accepted this stranger onto our team.

I asked him what his e-mail was so I could invite him to our git repo, and he said, [actual-email-address]@alum.mit.edu.

I laughed a good laugh inside. I knew regardless of what would happen, I was probably going to learn something. Our new teammate’s name was Dan (and still is, actually).

After officially becoming team-complete, I gave Dan the idea straight up, he seemed to like it. We discussed how we would build it, and then we were off and running. The unfortunate time was roughly 1 p.m.; this was not a true 24-hour hackathon.

We coded through the “early” night and Dan worked up some awesome model for calculating clutchness. By around 1 a.m., we had something pretty serviceable. Subsequently, this was about the same time my bed started to call me. The problem was, my bed was miles away, and it started to rain, and I did not want to walk anywhere in the rain. We also had some nasty bugs in our code that needed to be squashed, and squash them we did. It was around this time, maybe a little bit earlier, that we started to pair program, because this is when 1 brain is worth about 1/2 a brain. Dan took off for his bed sometime around 2 a.m., I think? Not sure.

Around 4 a.m., delirium struck, and I told Brett I was going to need some nappy time. Brett, as though he were cast of iron, turned to me and said that he was probably going to keep working. I admired that, but I also admired my potential time with the couch. I briefly napped and I returned to our table 30 minutes later, hardly refreshed, but it was better than nothing.

Brett was working on some insane bash command that was downloading videos, compressing them, converting them to another format, and probably sending them to the International Space Station. I kinda thought it was magical, but that’s because everything was magical at that hour, including water. A toothbrush would have been magical, too.

The sun came up; that was good. Dan came back early that morning, and pushed all of his work to our repository. Suddenly, we not only had data, we had a real mathematical model computing the clutchness, or, Clutch Rating of a particular player. We were ecstatic.

As we got closer to stopping-time, I built out a brief outline of our pitch, and we made some last-minute tweaks. The judges arrived (including the CMO of Sports Illustrated, Damian Slattery; the Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated, Ryan Hunt; and the CTO of Time Inc, Colin Bodell) and said some short words, and with that, the pitches started.

Check out that high-tech digital display.

Check out that high-tech digital display of the pitching order.

We got up on stage, and it felt like we nailed it. Our product was quite complete, by hackathon standards. Users could:

  • Search through players, see a snapshot of each player and their overall Clutch Rating.
  • Click on a player and see more stats about the player, including a profile photo.
  • View all of a particular player’s plays that went into computing their overall clutch rating.
  • Click on a play to watch game footage of that play (the product of Brett’s insane shell command).

We were the last team to pitch, and after finishing, the judges went on with their judging.

About 5 minutes later, the winners were announced, and we took first place.

This is what winning looks like.

This is what first place looks like. From left to right: Alex (me), Dan, Colin Bodell, Brett

Plenty of post-hackathon networking ensued, and we went to get a few whiskeys — not that we needed them. We were already mostly drunk with delirium. After the second or third drink, I turned into what some would call, a zombie. I promptly made my way to the train station without eating anyone, and found my bed.

The next day, we were all off to work like nothing ever happened.

Check out our project at clutchratings.com.  

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Coding, Hackathon, New York City

Winning at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Hackathon — 1st Place for Microsoft Outlook Hack

On Friday, May 1st, I was moving to a new apartment with a big ol’ U-Haul truck. On Saturday, May 2nd, I was at Techcrunch Disrupt for the hackathon, aiming to win. And win we did.

Disrupt Logo

Earlier that morning, Jeff and I discussed some potential ideas over coffee, omelettes, and flapjacks. We came down to one: create a timesheet automatically by scanning your sent e-mails and evaluating your past meeting invites. Some people know how infuriating it can be to create a timesheet for clients, because if you don’t log your time immediately, you can forget what you spent the time doing in the first place. So, this was a hack to solve that problem.

One line I was sort of OK to wait in.

 

When we started, I was already physically exhausted, but my brain was still fresh, and I was ready to rip.  Because we were a small team of three, we knew we had to make something with a reasonable scope.

Max productivity!

Max productivity!

We hacked and hacked, as those who hack are wont to do. And this is the rest of the story in pictures:

Backstage before the pitch!

Backstage before the pitch! 

The pitch video! http://techcrunch.com/video/holy-timesheets/518803556/

Making those bills.

Making those bills.

And this was my reward!

And this was my reward!

Jeff put together a nice write-up of the win here.

And that’s a wrap.

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Coding, How-To

How to Create Geo HeatMaps with Pandas Dataframes and Google Maps JavaScript API V3

Get excited because we’re going to make a heatmap with Python Pandas and Google Maps JavaScript API V3. I’m assuming the audience has plenty of previous knowledge in Python, Pandas, and some HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Let’s begin with the DataFrame.

The DataFrame

First, you’re going to need a dataframe of “addresses” (can be a physical address, or even just a country name, like USA) that you eventually want to plot. (For the sake of simplicity, I’ll try to refer to the “address” as the “geo” for the rest of this document.) Second, since you are planning on using a heatmap, you’re going to want some sort of number that represents the weighted value of that row in comparison to other rows.

Let’s say your DataFrame looked like this:

grouped_country_df = main_df.groupby('country')\
                            .agg({'pink_kitten': lambda x: len(x.unique())})\
                            .sort('pink_kitten', ascending=False)
print grouped_country_df
geo_name count_of_pink_kittens
USA 3430
Spain 577
United Kingdom 352
Israel 292
Austria 196
Argentina 151
India 133
Singapore 66

Now you have a list of geos and some values to use as the weight when later creating the heatmap. But to plot these points, you’re going to need some lat and long coordinates.

Getting Lat Long Coordinates from Google Maps API

If you have a list of geos or “addresses,” you can use Geocoding to convert those geos into lat/long coordinates. From Google: “Geocoding is the process of converting addresses (like “1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA”) into geographic coordinates (like latitude 37.423021 and longitude -122.083739), which you can use to place markers on a map, or position the map.”

To use this Google Maps service, you need to have a Google Maps API key. To get a key, you can follow the directions here. When you sign up for an API key, you should select “Server Side Key,” since we will be running a Python script server-side to access the Google Maps API.

Once you have your api_key, you can work on getting geocoded results for all of your geos. You can do this with the following code:

import requests
# set your google maps api key here.
google_maps_api_key = ''

# get the list of countries from our DataFrame.
countries = grouped_country_df.index
for country in countries:
    # make request to google_maps api and store as json. pass in the geo name to the address 
    # query string parameter.
    url ='https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address={}&amp;key={}'\
         .format(country, google_maps_api_key)
    r = requests.get(url).json()

    # Get lat and long from response. "location" contains the geocoded lat/long value.
    # For normal address lookups, this field is typically the most important.
    # https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/geocoding/#JSON

    lat = r['results'][0]['geometry']['location']['lat']
    lng = r['results'][0]['geometry']['location']['lng']

This only gets you so far, since you still need to do something with those latitude and longitude coordinates. We have a few options here:

  1. If you are building a web application, you can pass those values into an HTML template as variables and they will end up getting plotted via JavaScript.
  2. We can print out the format of the JavaScript, and later past it into our HTML file within script tags.
  3. Other approaches that I’m not going to talk about.

For the sake of time, I’m going to show #2, which lends itself to a one-off analysis. You’d probably want to go with some dynamic templating approach, like #1, if you are going to pull and plot the same data repeatedly.

Add the following code to your for-loop from above, right underneath

lng = r['results'][0]['geometry']['location']['lng']

# set the country weight for later. by getting the value for each index in the dataframe
# as it loops through.
country_weight = int(grouped_country_df.ix[country])
 
# print out the Javascript that we will be copy-pasting into our HTML file
print '{location: new google.maps.LatLng(%s, %s), weight: %s},' % (lat, lng, country_weight)

After running your script, copy the output, which should look like this:

{location: new google.maps.LatLng(37.09024, -95.712891), weight: 3430},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(40.463667, -3.74922), weight: 577},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(55.378051, -3.435973), weight: 352},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(31.046051, 34.851612), weight: 292},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(47.516231, 14.550072), weight: 196},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(-38.416097, -63.616672), weight: 151},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(20.593684, 78.96288), weight: 133},
{location: new google.maps.LatLng(1.352083, 103.819836), weight: 66},

You’re going to use these values in the next step.

Creating an HTML file that contains Javascript for Plotting your Lat Long Points.

You need to create an HTML file that contains some script tags within it. I am simply going to paste my code below with annotations. If you copy the location strings from above, you will be able to paste them directly into this HTML file under the “heatmapData” array (defined below in the code).

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <head>
    <title>Simple Map</title>
    <meta name="viewport" content="initial-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <style>
      html, body, #map-canvas {
        height: 100%;
        margin: 0px;
        padding: 0px
      }
    </style>
    <!-- Load Google Maps API. -->
    
    
  
    
    function initialize() {
      var heatmapData = [
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(37.09024, -95.712891), weight: 3430},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(40.463667, -3.74922), weight: 577},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(55.378051, -3.435973), weight: 352},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(31.046051, 34.851612), weight: 292},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(47.516231, 14.550072), weight: 196},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(-38.416097, -63.616672), weight: 151},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(20.593684, 78.96288), weight: 133},
        {location: new google.maps.LatLng(1.352083, 103.819836), weight: 66},
      ];
       
      // Add some custom styles to your google map. This can be a pain. 
        // http://gmaps-samples-v3.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/styledmaps/wizard/index.html
      var styles = [ 
        {
          "featureType": "administrative",
          "stylers": [
            { "visibility": "off" }
          ]
        },
        {
          "featureType": "road",
          stylers: [ 
            { "visibility": "off"}
          ]
        },
        {
          "featureType": "landscape",
          "elementType": "geometry.fill",
          "stylers": [
            { "color": "#ffffff" },
            { "visibility": "on" }
          ]
        },
      ];
      // create a point on the map for the Atlantic Ocean, 
      // which will later be used for centering the map.
      var atlanticOcean = new google.maps.LatLng(24.7674044, -38.2680446);
      // Create the styled map object.
      var styledMap = new google.maps.StyledMapType(styles, {name:"Styled Map"});
      // create the base map object. put it in the map-canvas id, defined in HTML below.
      map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map-canvas'), {
        center: atlanticOcean, // set the starting center point as the atlantic ocean
        zoom: 3, // set the starting zoom 
        mapTypeControlOptions: {
          mapTypeIds: [ google.maps.MapTypeId.ROADMAP, 'map_style'] // give the map a type.
        }, 
      });
       
      // Create the heatmap object.
      var heatmap = new google.maps.visualization.HeatmapLayer({
        data: heatmapData, // pass in your heatmap data to plot in this layer.
        opacity: 1, 
        dissipating: false, // on zoom, do you want dissipation?
      });
      heatmap.setMap(map); // apply the heatmap to the base map object.
      map.mapTypes.set('map_style', styledMap); // apply the styles to your base map.
      map.setMapTypeId('map_style'); 
       
      // Add a custom Legend to Your Map
        // https://developers.google.com/maps/tutorials/customizing/adding-a-legend
      var legend = document.getElementById('legend');
      map.controls[google.maps.ControlPosition.RIGHT_BOTTOM]
         .push(document.getElementById('legend'));
       
      // This is hard-coded for the countries I knew existed in the set.
      var country_list = ['USA','Spain','United_Kingdom','Israel',
                          'Austria','Argentina','India','Singapore'];
       
      // for each country in the country list, append it to the Legend div.

      for (i = 0; i < country_list.length; i++) {
          var div = document.createElement('div');
          div.innerHTML = '<p>' + country_list[i] + '</p>'
          legend.appendChild(div);
      } 
    }

     google.maps.event.addDomListener(window, 'load', initialize);

</script>
</head>

<body>
    <'div id="legend" style="background-color:grey;padding:10px;">
    <strong>Countries Mapped</strong>
    </div>

    <'div id="map-canvas"></div>
    </body>
</html>

Open the HTML file in your browser, and you should see something like this.

google maps heatmap

Et Voila!

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Coding, Random

Da Git Dip Song (For Nerds)

This song was inspired by a Tweet I saw from Michael Hansen (@modality). He tweeted the first two lines and I decided to, well, finish off some of the song. It goes great with “Da Dip” by Freak Nasty playing in the background.

I PUSH MY CODE UP TO UR GIT,
WHEN I SHIP U SHIP WE SHIP!
You push yours and I push mine
We can pull it down.
And commit it ’round.

Get on the branch like I said before
Y’all remember that log
Just put a little -m with it
Now put those edits with it
Pull it, push it, can’t control it?
Just reset it.

Merging ain’t fun so take a chance
Just get on the master branch and
Do the rebase dance
I know you hate it
But don’t try to grep it
Just check the status
And try to fetch it.

Move that base around, let me
Show it from the status
Yeah, I init it like that
Comon’ add .
Roll those commits
Drop down double up
On those diffs
Freak Nasty wanna see
Can ya’ll do this?
Comon’ clone me.

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Coding

Winning 1st Place at the Coca-Cola/Spotify Hackathon!

This invite-only hackathon was put on by Coca-Cola and Spotify. In the previous weeks, our team, London Calling, had received very little information on what brand we would be working with. One clue: the brand is global, operating in 206 countries, with 1.7 billion consumers served, daily. I decided to Google that line, since it sounded like something a brand would use in its marketing materials.

My query resulted with articles about Coca-Cola, but the most telling find was this one. The stakes were raised. We started researching their current initiatives and brand positioning to get a feel for what they are up to. No surprise: stuff about music.

Fast forward to Saturday, April 14. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. It was a nice morning, and I was prepared to put my wrists and back through hackathon hell.

Breakfast? Check. Nice chairs? Check. Lots of branding stuff? Check. Coca-Cola? Check. Beer? That came too. Heck, we even had a masseuse come in to smack our backs like keyboards.

Coke took us through the brief again. And then they took us on a brand immersion course, which included a well-done and informative video. Spotify gave us API information. Facebook followed suit, and provided info on their API authentication process (guidance is pretty much required, since their documentation online is like walking through the 7th circle of hackathon hell).

Briefing was over by about 11:30 a.m., and we immediately started talking about the product. At 1:00 p.m., we spoke to a rep from Coke and bounced a few of our ideas off of him. He confirmed a few things for us, and we steered ourselves back to the brief, and stuck to it for the rest of the weekend. Now comes my favorite part:

1:30 p.m. Begin product spec document and continued brainstorming with Jeff and David.

2:00 p.m. Erase product document and start over.

2:30 p.m. Wireframing.

3:00 p.m. More notes. Starting to get nervous and anxious because I need to be coding something.

3:30 p.m. No more product talk, just start designing and developing.

4:00 p.m. It was mentioned that it would be cool if you could get a street view of the moon with Google Maps. Toby: “Yeah, it would show you a green alien in full stride, running away from the camera.” Me: “With its face blurred out.”

4:15 p.m. F-bombs are being dropped, and I can’t remember why.

Dinner happened somewhere in here. We keep coding through the evening. The features weren’t coming as quickly as we hoped they would, but it was starting to look good. Around this time, we commented that “it’s likely that we’ll have the best looking app at the hackathon – thanks David!

Tiredness really starts to kick in around 12 straight hours of working. So, basically from 11:00 p.m. on into Sunday, it’s an upward battle — a battle of which one fights with exorbitant amounts of caffeine, sugar, stand-up breaks, and pushups (if you’re Aaron).

Once you get into any time after 2 a.m., delirium comes in waves, until it floods over you. Brain output dissipates into nonexistence. If you’re doing front-end, you see the physical world in terms of <div>s and <class>es. If you’re doing back-end, it’s all variables, objects and arrays.

Sunday

4:00 a.m. Apparently Toby writes a MongoDB driver.

4:15 a.m. “Flags. I love flags.” -Me

4:20 a.m. “Mr. text-box-man, how is your text box coming?” -Me

4:28 a.m. “mur mur mur mur mur mur mur” -David

4:30 a.m.: var sleep = “I wish I was sleeping.”;

document.write(sleep);

5:00 a.m. Our troops are starting to disperse, traveling home to the warmth of their mattresses. Three have gone, and it is Pinzler, Toby and I remaining.

6:00 a.m. Toby heads home.

6:30 a.m. I go to sleep on a couch in the venue’s lounge area.

7:00 a.m. Pinzler joins me.

9:30 a.m. ‘HELLO WORLD!’ I AM WIDE AWAKE.

9:31 a.m. No I’m not. I’m still tired.

9:32 a.m. I stumble out into the main area. Aaron and Pinzler are sitting there working. It will take me an hour to get my shit together to be useful again.

10:00 a.m. David rolls in.

10:05 a.m. I call Toby. The conversation we had was intensely creative:

Me: “Hey Toby.”

Toby: Hi.

Me: So (hitting keys on my keyboard, click click click).

Toby: …

Me: What’s up? How was your sleep?

Toby: I got a solid two and a half.

Alex: Nice. I slept here… 2.5 for me, too.

* silence *

Alex: When are you coming?

Toby: I’ll be there soon.

Alex: Cool. Cya.

Toby: Cya.

(This conversation occurred over a 3 minute period.)

10:30 a.m. Toby rolls in.

10:50, or-something-like-that-a.m.: Jeff arrives.

What ensued was a feverish storm of typing. Hacking was set to end at 3, and our app still didn’t play music. No problem; it’s just a Spotify application, it doesn’t need to play music.

1:00 p.m. My brain actually returns to about 85-90% of its normal operational output.

Features are coming together. One problem: one of the core functionalities of our app isn’t working, and as it turns out, it never did. We couldn’t finish everything.

The last hour of a hackathon seems to be the most productive. Features are forced through, and not even a missing semi-colon will stop them. OK, a missing semi-colon will stop them, but let’s just pretend it doesn’t.

3:00 p.m. Time is up, and people start presenting. We are picked to present third. I’m tired. We keep hacking some of the final additions until the last minute before we head up there.

I think around 4:00 p.m., we’re on stage, and Jeff rolls out his story. Unfortunately, some of the features we promised Jeff weren’t working, so we kinda threw him under the bus for his presentation. Luckily for him, it wasn’t a school bus.

But, he maintained confidence and handled it really well. We finished and were asked a lot of questions – this was a good thing. Three groups went after us, and then the judging began. 30 minutes to an hour later, the announcement came:

“We will be working with… London Calling.”

It took a second to register, and then shortly after, WOW.  We go up and shake hands with all the king’s good men and women, share some high fives, and then head to the keg.

We celebrated with more drinking. And on Monday, I was back at work as a Creative Strategist at the agency, even though I felt like a super hero.

Check out the video that Coke created below:

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